"…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"
Dear Friends of St. Maarten,
I am starting our November Newsletter with a Special Report on some of the damage that Hurricane Gonzalo recently left in its wake on StMaarten/StMartin. Keep in mind that many areas of the island had no damage at all. Our Newsletter follows.
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association
Featured in this issue:
1. Special Report on Hurricane Gonzalo
2. Special Feature: Crystal Pineapple Awards Online Voting
3. Featured Shop: The Belgian Chocolate Box
4. Featured Villa: St. Martin Villa Rentals by Preferred Escapes
5. Featured Restaurant: Interlude Restaurant
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images
7. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
8. Featured Hotel: Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa
9. Featured Activity: Aqua Mania Adventures
10. What's Happening in Paradise?
Special Report from Oyster Bay Beach Resort on Hurricane Gonzalo.
Hurricane Gonzalo /OBBR update #2. Conditions as of Thursday Oct. 16:
On Monday, October 15th, Hurricane Gonzalo, a Category 2 storm, passed over St. Maarten and did considerable damage to the Island and to the Resort. Since the last report we have done a thorough damage assessment and it shows that while we suffered wide spread effects of the storm, we feel confident that we can quickly clean up and restore the resort to the same beautiful and well-kept condition it was in before the storm.
The management is most grateful for the bravery, help, dedication and patience of all those staying at the resort during the storm. Many new friendships and bonds between staff and guests were formed during and after the storm.
The resort is open and continues to spring to life along with the rest of the Oyster Pond area and the Island as well. The resort is able to accommodate reserved guests in comfortable units. The rooms might show some wear and water damage. We will be repairing the damage starting immediately. Water and electricity has been fully restored to the Resort, the Oyster Pond area and most of the Island. Even though we are receiving water from the government water company we are still, out of an abundance of caution, asking guests to use the water for bathing only and not for drinking. We’re supplying free bottled water to all guests. We hope to be able to recommend drinking the government-supplied water sometime in the next several days. There is still a small possibility of water interruptions as the water company makes repairs to its damaged water lines. The Resort does have a reservoir that can supply water in that event, but its capacity is limited. We don’t expect guests to be inconvenienced but depending on repairs to the government distribution system, water interruptions are possible.
The air conditioning system has suffered some damage that we are working to repair. During the next several weeks however, we can only cover about 60%-70% of our units with working air conditioning. All units have working ceiling fans that provide cooling. Depending on the occupancy and type of suite demand, we can accommodate most, if not all guests, in an air-conditioned unit, however; we cannot guarantee that all units will have functioning air conditioning for the entire stay or for every room. We have skilled personnel on staff doing the work to repair the air conditioning system. Full air conditioning should be brought on line progressively in the coming weeks so the situation will be alleviated.
The pool did not suffer structural damage. It did accumulate debris. We have emptied the pool and are scrubbing it and refilling it. We hope to have it available no later than Monday, October 20. For safety reasons the pool deck has been closed off during the cleaning and refilling activities.
Dawn beach is open and clear. Our beach extension (“Joan’s Beach”), just past Busby’s is looking great. We have had a seasonal problem with the difficult accumulation of Sargasso seaweed but for the time being the storm has cleared it away. We expect the seasonal change in the North Atlantic to cause a decline in the Sargasso weed as it has in the past. Other beaches are reported clear and our Thursday beach bash at Orient Beach was a smashing success.
All other resort amenities are available including; Indulgence Spa, Shipwreck Shop, the Gym, The Oyster Bay Marina and the water sports activities provided by Capt. Alan. The sea is calm and Capt. Alan is back on his regular schedule.
Infinity restaurant is open on its regular schedule and menu as is the Infinity Bar. Beau Beau’s is expected to reopen this Saturday. The restaurants in the area have all reopened including, Busby’s, Big Fish, Canoa, Daniel’s By The Sea and Mama’s Pizza.
The Island suffered damage to roads, infrastructure and housing. The residents are steadfastly repairing their homes and restoring their Island. The roads are clear but the scenery shows that the people of St. Maarten were greatly impacted by Gonzalo. We will all help each other to restore the Island to its full beauty and comfort. While the storm was serious, except for the one tragic death, it seems that the Island came through a powerful storm rather well. Much of its unseen, buried infrastructure investment and higher building standards paid-off and we are able to write that we are open for business.
As indicated in our last update, OBBR will be happy to rebook any guest for a time in the future when full services are restored or refund any deposit that it received from guest who wants to cancel. The refund offer is good only until Sunday at midnight, October 19. After that date our usual cancellation policy will be in effect. We will be happy to facilitate the placement of owners and reserved Interval International guests at other Interval International resorts or rebook their reservation for a time in the future when it is assured that all services will be at 100%.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Management and Staff of Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Crystal Pineapple Awards Voting Online Now!
The voting period for the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association officially opened October 20th, 2014. This puts YOU in the perfect position to vote for those individuals and organizations you think should really be recognized for their outstanding performance in the Tourism and Trade Industry. May it be an excellent employee, an outstanding manager, or your favorite chef or bartender, for example.
Voting can be done on www.shta.com. Simply click on the ‘Crystal Pineapple Awards’ under the ‘Events’ tab on the left hand side of the page and follow the instructions. A link to the voting poll has also been placed on the Crystal Pineapple Awards Facebook page. The polls will be open until Wednesday November 12th, 2014 at 5pm. Remember that your vote can make someone feel like a star that evening.
The Crystal Pineapple Award Gala is the ONLY event on the island that recognizes Hospitality & Trade personnel, organizations and associations for their contribution towards the tourism industry. Individuals who are employed in the Hospitality and Trade industry can receive awards in the categories of Accommodations, Restaurants, and Trade as well as the category Outstanding Community Service Achievement.
Tickets for the event are NOW on sale at the SHTA office and can be reserved any time during office hours. Please make sure to reserve your Gala tickets right away, as there is limited seating.
The award ceremony will be held on Friday, November 21st, 2014 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. The gala evening includes a sumptuous dinner, live entertainment, a silent auction, a raffle and much more.
For 9 years now, we make Belgian Chocolates and are considered the oldest original Belgian Chocolate Factory in the Caribbean. We have no subsidiaries or branches on other islands.
Our 75 different chocolate flavors are made with love daily fresh by factory owner Beatrix in our Philipsburg Atelier in Old Street. From here we sell direct or distribute them to our sales outlet in Simpson Bay next to Village Portofino (opposite Windward Island Bank and Druggist) or to first Class Hotels, Casinos, Villas and Yachts on this island.
There are few foods that people feel as passionate about - a passion that goes beyond a love for the "sweetness" of most candies or desserts: after all, few people crave caramel, whipped cream, or bubble gum. Chocolate is, well, different. For the true chocoholic, just thinking about chocolate can evoke a pleasurable response. You may want to grab a bar or make a nice cup of hot cocoa before you begin exploring here.
Candy bars, milk shakes, cookies, flavored coffee - even cereal and medicine! Chocolate is a key ingredient in many foods. In fact, it ranks as the favorite flavor of most Americans. And yet, few of us know the unique origins of this popular treat.
The story of chocolate spans more than 2,000 years and now circles the globe. The tale began in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America where cacao (kah KOW) first grew. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. But the journey from seed to sweet is a long one, spanning many centuries and requiring many processes.
History of Chocolate
The tasty secret of the cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate. The story of how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into a global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents.
The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and Aztec, mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.
Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, the drink's popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the World's favorite flavors.
How Chocolate is Made - Harvesting Cacao is Hard Work
We tend to think of chocolate making as an assembly-line process. Most people picture automated presses plopping out candies onto conveyor belts at speeds unmatched by humans. But, before cacao reaches the machinery of a chocolate factory, it must first pass through the hands of a farmer.
Making Chocolate Takes Years of Manual Labor
Like most agricultural crops, cacao must be closely monitored by farmers. They regularly walk their fields and check for pests, molds, and diseases that can potentially wipe out a whole harvest. In addition, a farmer must spend three to five years caring for young cacao trees before they'll produce their first yield.
Cacao Harvesting is Done by Hand
Unlike many contemporary crops, cacao can't be harvested by machines. Each thick pod growing off the trunk and branches of the cacao tree must be plucked by hand.
To meet your taste we offer customized flavors, travel packaging and delivery service. Our boxes are insulated. If you are visiting St. Maarten on one of the cruise ships you can use our free ship delivery service. You must place your order either directly in our shop by 3 pm or you can use our pre-order facilities via internet, phone or fax directly from home or cruise ship.
Once you taste our chocolate, you will appreciate our quality. Finest Belgian Chocolate (Callebaut), Pure Cream and Butter, natural Vanilla from Tahiti and other high end ingredients make our Chocolates unique. We will surprise you with traditional flavors and new combinations. Some of our chocolates take 5-6 different steps for finishing…
The Belgian Chocolate Box by Beatrix
109 Old Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
For information, telephone: 1.721.542.8863
Or visit us at: www.thebelgianchocolatebox.com
The Best Villa Vacation You Will Ever Have!
Preferred Escapes St. Martin Luxury Villas
If you are planning a villa vacation to St. Martin/St. Maarten this season, you will want to speak with our friends and luxury villa wholesaler Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas. This villa company represents over 200 luxury villas on both sides of the island and always has some special offers available.
---------------St. Martin Villa Forty-Seven located on Bay Rouge Beach
------------------3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | As low as $1,214 USD p/night
Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas cater to guests just like you and can ensure that you receive the very best rates in addition to their world class service and 24 hour concierge. As an added benefit to you this company is also a registered licensed villa company which gives you peace of mind and reservation payment protection.
Check out Preferred Escapes Villa Service Guarantee and Recent Guest Reviews!
-------------------St. Martin Villa Fifteen located on Bay Rouge Beach
--------------------1 Bedroom | 1 Bathroom | As low as $1,000 USD p/night
This team of villa professionals have the inside scoop on the villas, local attractions and activities here that you need to know. With over 17 years of villa vacation experience this company knows how important it is for you to select the right villa for your vacation while saving you both time and money. Best of all, since they have been chosen to represent the owners of these villas you do not have to pay for their services at all and benefit by receiving the lowest rates from their business volume.
------------------ St. Martin Villa Fifty-Nine located in Terres Basses
--------------------- 4 Bedroom | 4 Bathrooms | As low as $814 p/night
You can request a villa of your choice or they are more than happy to make a recommendation for you based on your desired location and budget standard. Once your villa reservation is finalized they will then assist you with all of the finer details of your stay including villa provisioning, car rentals, reservations, local activities and travel coverage. Best of all, they remain available to you throughout your stay.
We recommend that you check out Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas today.
You will not be disappointed.
Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas
Or Telephone: 1.800.559.2850 | 1.519.266.6711
Visit our website: www.preferredescapes.com/st-martin-villa-rentals
Restaurants & Bars
"One of the Top Three Restaurants in the Caribbean!"
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Interlude Restaurant's opulent dining room offers dramatic, open-air dining with panoramic beach and ocean views that add to the enjoyment of the delicious meals, whether a heady dish of authentic osso bucco or a grilled ahi tuna with plant salad and Creole sandy ground sauce. World-class cuisine combines fresh, lively island flavors with classical French techniques. The wine cellar boasts one of the most extensive collections in the Caribbean.
Trellis Restaurant: Located adjacent to the main pool, this casual and beautifully decorated dining spot is open for lunch daily, and for dinner three times weekly. Trellis has a canopy and misters to keep you cool while you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views, as well as fabulous Gazpacho, sandwiches, and salads such as the locally caught Mahi-Mahi, grilled on Romaine lettuce with herbed French bread crostini or a classical Caesar topped with Cajun tiger shrimp.
The Beach Bar: Located on the beach, and only minutes away from the guest rooms and suites, this al-fresco lunch bar and restaurant allows guests to keep their feet in the sand while enjoying snacks, salads and cocktails as well as providing beach/beverage service to the beach chaises. The Beach Bar also features Lobster Barbecues for lunch on Wednesday and Sunday, with a special Lobster Barbecue on Monday nights. Perfectly complimented by our infinity edge pool, enjoy drinks whilst contemplating La Samanna's breathtaking sunsets.
WiFi is also now available at the Beach Bar and throughout most of the resort for easy access to the internet or to check your email.
La Samanna's Baie Longue Bar provides a cozy spot for cocktails before or after dinner. This rich, red velvet eclectic bar mixes Moroccan furniture, unique modern art and African decorative artifacts. It is set off by a multi-hued Indian wedding tent that provides exotic ceiling art. Long time bartender Orlando Philgene mixes up his signature drink, the Baie Longue Blue, and provides rum and champagne tasting for the aficionado of Caribbean spirits. Open daily from 10:00 am to midnight or until the last guest turns-in.
La Cave Restaurant: Enjoy a delightful private dinner in our most exclusive venue. Perfect for a private celebration or business dinner, the Wine Cellar offers our guests a completely different dining experience. Sit among some of the finest wines in the world and feast on cuisine from one of the Caribbean's best chefs, complimented by elegant and attentive service. La Samanna's 'La Cave' wine cellar is without doubt one of the finest and most attractive cellars in the Caribbean, with a superb selection of fine wines from across the globe, all impeccably controlled and selected by passionate experts.
Welcome to La Cave Restaurant! Travel with us to our medieval wine cellar fantasy, for this ultimate dining experience. Our sommelier will take you through a journey of discovery and our honoured Chef will join you in this intimate setting for an open discussion on the menu and a last cheer.
Enjoy a private wine tasting in our award winning wine cellar (2 people minimum) or savor a private wine cellar dinner with our Chef's innovative five course or nine course tasting menu and wine pairings.
Rum Tasting - The Caribbean is famed for its rum and at La Samanna we take this reputation very seriously. Enjoy a journey through some of the region’s finest rums, accompanied by selected speciality dishes.
----------------12,000 bottles of wine - 1,250 labels - 11 countries
---------------------- Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2010
-------------- Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2008
------------ Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2007
-------------------- Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2006
--------------- Best Wine List of the Caribbean Gault & Millau 2007
"Your eyes, your nose, your "papilles" (taste buds): your taste becomes attentive, sensitive, and while smelling and tasting such wine or such alcohol, you discover a new treasure and a new pleasure..."
Special Dining Events
Throughout the year, Belmond La Samanna offers special dining events to its guests, profiling some of the world's best chefs and their cuisine at our luxury resort. Beach Dining Private Candlelight Dinner and Monday night lobster beach BBQ are two of our events. Please check back for additional upcoming Special Dining Events.
Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa
Bay Long, St. Martin, French West Indies
For reservations, tel: 1.800.854.2252 or 011.590.590.87.64.00 or fax: 011.590.5188.8.131.52
------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images
Heineken Regatta Starting Line -----StMaarten/StMartin Border
Casino Royale Sonesta Maho Resort --------Classic Yacht Passaat at Sunset
--- Rare Restaurant, Cupecoy---------- Scuba Fun Dive Training
Hotel Marquis View, Anse Marcel Beach Plaza Hotel, Marigot
Sign Up to Win our December 2014
Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter
--------------- Belmond La Samanna... your archway to St. Martin!
Belmond La Samanna is an authentic hideaway of French Caribbean luxury along Saint-Martin's most exclusive beach--Baie Longue. The boutique resort offers 55 acres and a total of 83 oceanfront rooms, suites and villas. Located just minutes from Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), La Samanna is within easy reach of major US cities.
Located atop a rocky bluff and tucked within a gentle cove, La Samanna's Mediterranean-inspired architecture is bold white with clay-colored terracotta shingles--a throwback to personalized service and complete indulgence. Where umbrella drinks arrive upon request and celebrities stay tucked beneath sprawling palms. Dense mangroves and bright pink bougainvilleas offer added privacy. The Caribbean Sea's stunning blues shimmer throughout the day, as Saba Island rises in the distance. Wrapped in a dreamlike contradiction of intimate seclusion and adventurous activities, guests laze in simple solitude one day. Then engage in yoga, sailing, snorkeling and professional tennis the next. La Samanna's beachside Water Activities Cabana has an experienced staff to coordinate all activities, both on-and off-property.
In each of the 83-oceanfront guest rooms, whites and blues envelope guests in clean interior design. Rooms are graceful and light with decorative pillows, white travertine flooring and marble countertops in bathrooms. Accommodations include traditional guestrooms, one-and two-bedroom suites and three-bedroom cottages. All suites offer living rooms, dining rooms and private terraces.
Washed in the resort's classic Caribbean grandeur, La Samanna Villas offer more than 4,600 square feet of exclusive space. Each three and four-bedroom Villa is complete with wraparound private infinity pools, generous indoor/outdoor living quarters, sweeping ocean views, oversized private terraces and more.
On an island known for its gastronomical exploits, the Executive Chef at La Samanna does not disappoint. The day begins with buffet breakfast to rival the finest on the mainland. Fresh fruits, homemade French pastries and gourmet coffee delight guests. During the day, The Beach Bar and Interlude Restaurant serve up lunch as each overlooks one of the resort's beautiful pools. While at night, Interlude Restaurant celebrates French-Caribbean fare and La Cave--the region's most talked about wine cellar--entertains with more than 12,000 bottles.
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Award-winning French Cuisine
La Samanna's renowned dining room, Trellis Restaurant, has been claimed as one of the finest in the world not to mention one of the most romantic settings overlooking the Caribbean Sea. La Samanna's blend of Caribbean and French influence is especially expressed in its fine cuisine. Acclaimed by Travel & Leisure Magazine as "one of the top three restaurants in the Caribbean," the restaurant maintains a world-class reputation through its constant commitment to fresh, first-class food, found locally as well as flown in daily from France. The menu is full of new passion, both in presentation and palate. Classical yet unique, the menu strives to explore new tastes beyond those known to the luxury restaurants in New York and in Paris, a fusion of French, Creole and Caribbean soul. More details...
Renovation of La Samanna's world-renowned Wine Cellar into La Cave Restaurant offers a remarkable opportunity to wine enthusiasts, with its cavern's inventory rivaling the top eight best resorts in the world for wine as written by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. A unique and private dining experience, created for individual tastes and mood, can now be had by candlelight in the Cellar itself, where new, sought and rare vintages will compliment a fine dinner menu.
On the more casual side, a very special treat is to plan a lobster barbecue on the beach for lunch, or in the evening with flamed torches, and island music. The selection each morning at our breakfast buffet pleases guests from around the world while enjoying their coffee with a peaceful overlook of Baie Longue. More details...
CONDE NAST TRAVELLER
Caribbean Weddings at La Samanna
La Samanna Resort & Spa in St Martin can provide the perfect setting for your Caribbean destination wedding. Our exclusive Caribbean beach resort and professional staff are highly prepared to host your wedding celebrations and make your most special day look like an effortless vacation.
Our Guest Services Manager will assist you in choosing the perfect location for your wedding ceremony, based on your group size. The hotel offers unique wedding locations ranging from the beautiful beach terrace to the pool terrace or our stately Rendezvous Pavilion, where your wedding reception and celebrations can be held.
We look forward to welcoming you and your wedding party to our romantic Caribbean beach paradise. For more information on planning your Caribbean Wedding at La Samanna Resort, Click here.
Leisure & Activities
For those who crave action, the choices at La Samanna are endless. Activities such as complimentary kayaking, yoga, pilates, tennis, snorkeling and more are all on hand, while scuba programs, water-skiing, wake boarding, kid's 'banana' boat, wave runners, snorkel trips, day charter boats, island tours and off-property excursions are easily arranged by our concierge. Read more...
La Samanna Spa
Indulge in spa treatments or get yourself in prime physical and mental condition at our superb fitness center. Guests don't have to go far for world-class relaxation. La Samanna Spa offers seven treatment rooms, including five indoor/outdoor treatment suites--each with a private Zen garden and outdoor shower. From a detoxifying body wrap to a classic deep tissue massage, the Spa has a full range of services focusing on extravagance, rejuvenation and wellness using natural elements.
All technicians are European-trained professionals, thus we can offer more than 40 different stress-relievers such as hot stone massage techniques, natural seaweed body treatments, cryotherapy, Shiatsu, reflexology, and balneotherapy. Also available at La Samanna's Spa are manicures, pedicures, waxing, face/eye care and hair styling. Phytomer, a sea-ingredient based line of natural French products are used exclusively with all treatments.
Our Spa manager will work with you ahead of time to create the perfect rejuvenation package for each guest, scheduling around activities. This will allow one less detail to handle when you arrive. We can customize any of our treatments to fit your special needs. And, at your request, we will gladly and discreetly extend sound advice for integrating a healthier lifestyle for you to take back home. More details...
Two Cultures. One island. On the French side, a relaxed mélange of English, French Creole and other Caribbean dialects punctuate each conversation. The aroma of classic French fare swirls throughout St. Martin's capital city--Marigot. Originally a fishing village, today the city's open-air market teems colorful locals, earthy spices and native lolos. The Dutch side is home to duty-free shopping and a pulsating nightlife filled with the promise of mischief. Head to Maho after sunset for glittering discos, casinos, bars and steel drum bands. Or, shop in Phillipsburg for jewelry, European fashion and electronics.
Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa, Bay Long, St. Martin, F.W.I.
Please visit our website at: www.lasamanna.com
to all destinations for daytrips, all the toys for water sports and combine
a professional and well established dive center to round off the package."
AQUA MANIA Adventures is such a company, with over 20 years experience in the customer service industry and friendly and reliable staff. These are the people to help you plan an unforgettable vacation. St. Maarten is uniquely surrounded by four beautiful islands - The French Jewel "St. Barts," the Unspoiled Dutch Queen, "Saba," and the two British sisters, "Anguilla and Prickly Pear Cay." Each day a new country and culture, and exciting opportunities to explore and enjoy.
Aqua Mania Adventures has a great new addition to its list of toys, activities and fun. "PLAYSTATION 4 KIDS" It is the brainchild of owner Mike Yates, and lends some much needed entertainment on island for kids. "Playstation" is a converted catamaran that hosts swings, slides, monkey bars, paddles boats and a floating trampoline. I've personally seen it and it looks like a lot of fun. It presents quite a sight out there in Simpson Bay. Playstation operates daily from 9.30am to 5pm. The cost is $15 pp for 3 hours of play and kids 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Playstation is also available for Birthday parties and various Kid's functions including our new "Survivor Trip," "Gilligan's Island," "Kid's Lagoon Cruise" or a semi submarine.
Strategically located at Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay, AQUA MANIA Adventures offers "Edge I & II" - High Speed ferries to St. Barts, the only constant service to Saba. State of the art sail cats, "Lambada and Tango," offer the best means to travel to pristine white beaches and the aquamarine waters surrounding Anguilla and Prickly Pear. Great snorkeling at these destinations and local restaurants provide a tasty BBQ lunch. Lambada's crew is legendary for a guaranteed good time.
If you prefer a half day sightseeing and snorkeling combo, Sand Dollar is a popular outing with departures twice daily. Captain Alex is a dedicated and amusing companion for the three hour trip, and snorkeling at Creole Rock caters to the experienced and novice alike. This is a trip to christen that new gear or knock the cobwebs out of the trusted antiques.
St Barts is aptly called "The Jewel of the Caribbean". Just 45 minutes from Pelican Marina with the "Edge" ferries. Depart at 9 am to arrive in Gustavia Harbour, the hub of activity. Check in 8 am!
Sidewalk cafes offer crepes and croissants for breakfast, car rentals meet the boat, the taxi stand is a few feet away, and boutiques are open for business. This exceptional island has white sandy beaches, good snorkeling, great restaurants and a unique shell museum. A day guaranteed to entertain with sights and delights. Lunch can be had at a local burger shack, or fine dining at one of the exclusive hotels, your choice, beachside. Many of the shops in Gustavia may close over the lunch time period, so we recommend shopping in the morning.
Taxi tours can be arranged upon arrival at Gustavia. Prices vary depending how many people in a group. Afterwards a stop at St Jean Beach for shopping, beaching and lunch, and then return to Gustavia with a short time to spare for shopping before the ferry departs. Check in for the boat is at 3.45pm, for departure at 4pm. Arrival at Pelican at approximately 4.45pm.
St Barts also has some great scuba diving. Little pinnacles, reefs and wrecks are abundant with marine life and local dive shops are attentive. Dive trips can be arranged with St Barts Plongee or Plongee Caraibes.
St. Maarten is also a great dive destination. The outlying wreck and reef sites offer fantastic dives and excellent photo opportunities. For the average diver whose partner or family do not dive, here is where St. Maarten excels. Plenty of beaches, snorkeling, activities, shopping and day trips to keep everyone entertained while the divers go about the pleasure of diving. Waters are warm and inviting, and the marine life is aboundant. Moray eels, turtle and southern stingray are common sightings - and frog fish and jaw fish are a treat to find. Dive Adventures chooses dive sites the morning of the dive, to ensure the best decision is made for that day's weather and sea conditions.
-------------------------Aqua Mania Adventures
------------------------- Pelican Resort Marina, St. Maarten, N.A.
------------- For reservations, call 1.721.544.2640, Fax: 1.721.544.2476.
----Visit: www.stmaarten-activities.com or Visit: www.diveadventures-sxm.com
What's Happening in Paradise?
by Sam Fusco
The Horny Toad Guesthouse had minor damage to the grounds from Hurricane Gonzalo and lost one palm tree.
Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa will reopen Saturday, November 1st.
Lee's Roadside Grill located in Simpson’s Bay reopened on September 30th.
Pizza Galley which recently received its 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor reopened October 15th.
Scuba Fun Dive Center located in Dock Maarten, Philipsburg, will not be closing for summer vacations. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here.
L'Hoste Hotel and its restaurant, La Playa, which is located on Orient Beach will be open all year. La Playa Bar Restaurant with its private beach in front of the hotel offers an idyllic setting for breakfast or lunch in the shade of the palm trees caressed by the sea breeze. Enjoy the unique Beach Bar ambiance and savor cocktails on the beach until sunset.
Jimbo's Cafe is reopening on Saturday, November 1st. Come and enjoy!
Club Orient Resort located on Orient Beach reopened October 6th.
Hideaway Bar & Restaurant located at (www.LaVistaResort.com) October 1st.
Le Petit Hotel located on the beach in Grand Case will be open all year. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here.
Four Canadian Tourism Deals Gained This Season
A number of Canada-based tourism suppliers have added newly-launched St. Maarten deals, including package trips, in addition to recently established additional direct ﬂights. The news comes in the midst of a second particularly successful year for St. Maarten and the Canadian market in terms of additional tourism arrivals. Sunwing’s upcoming fall/winter programme now includes the new Sonesta Ocean Point Resort: a ﬁve-star, all-inclusive and adults-only resort opening November 27. Sunwing has added a new weekly ﬂight from Ottawa. The new ﬂight is in addition to the airline’s two existing weekly ﬂights departing from Montreal and Toronto on Thursdays and Sundays. Westjet Vacations is the ﬁrst tour operator in Canada to offer Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. Westjet also has added The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort to its St. Maarten programme. The airline has three Weekly ﬂights from Toronto and one from Montreal. Air Canada Vacations has added a second weekly flight from Toronto. The Rouge ﬂights depart on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Air Canada also has added Oyster Bay Beach Resort and the new Sonesta Ocean Point Resort to its fall/winter program.
Thirty Expected For 10th Sol Optimist Championship
At least thirty young Caribbean sailors are expected to compete in the 10th annual Sol St. Maarten Optimist Championship November 8 to 9 in Simpson Bay. This is an international Sailing event sponsored by Sol St. Maarten, featuring both male and female sailors ages 7 to 15 competing in the one-design Optimist class sailing dinghies. The championship is expected to draw sailors from ﬁve Caribbean islands including six entries from Tortola. One entry is from The BVI’s last year’s overall winner, 12 year old Rayne Duff, who is coming back to defend his title. At least four youths will also be traveling from Curacao and seven are expected from both St. Maarten and St. Barths. Six more are registered from Anguilla. This regatta will be divided into two classes, by age or ability, to be determined by the Race ofﬁcer at the time of registration.
Post Office Inaugurates New Branch At Harbour
Key representative of Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) N.V. and the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies (SHGC) came together on Friday, October 17, for the Inauguration ceremony of PSS’ third location, within Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities. The small structure, which will be manned by one person, is located strategically to be passed by thousands of tourists who will be “looking for little souvenirs and memories of their visit,” said PSS Interim Director Antonia Wilson. A key feature will be the sale of personalized stamps. Visitors will be able to have their pictures taken and incorporated into ofﬁcial stamps. Postcards, regular stamps, DHL service and Post ofﬁce services, including mailing of parcels and letters, also will be on offer, services not available on the cruise ships. The personalized souvenirs are expected to be a hit.
Carbonneau Chosen For Elite Model World Finals
Sixteen-year-old Learning Unlimited (LU) preparatory school student Danielle Carbonneau will be the ﬁrst girl to represent St. Maarten in the Elite Model World Finals in Shenzhen, China this December. Elite Model ofﬁcials announced Carbonneau as Elite Model Look winner for St. Maarten and the representative for the country at a press conference at Bamboo Bernie’s last week. She was one of two ﬁnalists in the running for the opportunity. The LU eleventh grader, who was born in St. Maarten, will join ﬁnalists from other countries for the World Final with hopes of following in the footsteps of Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour and Gisele Bundchen who began their modelling careers thanks to the Elite Model Look contest. The teenager is an aspiring businesswoman who wants to one day own her own spa. She plans to pursue her tertiary studies in Montreal, Canada following her education at LU. She loves physical therapy and healing through natural products.
Dock Maarten Launches Long-Awaited Expansion
A long-awaited extension of Dock Maarten is underway, currently in the initial phase of expanding a breakwater, originally built in 1984. The project will entail creating a deeper basin for the facility that services ultra-or gigayachts, which require deeper waters than that of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, and cannot always ﬁt through the bridge width-wise. The project will result in additional protection of boat slips belonging to the company as well as Bobby’s Marina, said Dock Maarten Managing Director Brian Deher, who is heading the project with his father, Dock Maarten owner Michel Deher. The boats will be in a calmer environment, especially important during swells and other rough weather conditions. Although it depends somewhat on the surrounding developments, the intention is to connect to the Boardwalk Boulevard on the waterside, leading more passengers to walk along the water’s edge, rather than on the street.
Sunwing Vacation Flights From Ottawa In December
Sunwing Vacations will be bringing the island of St. Maarten closer to Ottawa residents this Winter with a new, direct, non-stop ﬂight service. Operated by Sunwing Airlines, on route passengers can sit back and relax with award winning champagne service including a welcome glass of champagne, complimentary Hot & Fresh Bistro Meals served with wine along with ﬁrst-run and inﬂight entertainment, also offered at no charge. All ﬂights also include a generous 20kg free baggage allowance. Commencing December 15, 2014, the weekly ﬂight from Ottawa to St. Maarten will enable vacationers to discover the island’s varied attractions. New for this winter, the ﬁve-star Sonesta Ocean Point Resort will offer an elegant addition to the island’s collection of adult-oriented accommodation. A Sunwing Relax Resort, Sunwing guests at this adults-only property will be spoiled with exclusive perks. An established favourite amongst Sunwing clientele, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is a perennially popular choice for families and couples alike. A week stay at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is available from US $1,035 per person plus US $370 in taxes, based on two people departing Ottawa on December 15, 2014, and sharing a deluxe room on an all-inclusive basis.
World Poker Tour Returns To Casino Royale In November
Poker players looking for a luxurious vacation that features an exciting poker tournament should be sure to check out the upcoming World Poker Tour Event at St. Maarten’s Casino Royale. The US $3,500 tournament will be held November 3 to 7, 2014 at one of the Caribbean’s largest casinos. Accommodations for the event are available at the island’s Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel and Casino and the island’s newly-renovated, all-inclusive Sonesta Ocean Point Resort. “The amenities, staff, and setting, including the all-inclusive, ﬁve-star accommodations available at the newly-renovated Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, make this a must-play event for not only international poker players, but also for the local players who came out in droves to join in the festivities last year,” said World Poker Tour President Adam Pliska. Whether it’s high-stakes gaming, adrenaline-pumping adventure or relaxing Caribbean diversions, Maho Village, where the casino and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort are located, is a “destination within a destination” that has truly redeﬁned entertainment, dining, shopping and gaming in a vibrant resort atmosphere.
Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters